Aksel Rykkvin / Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Nigel Short

Aksel!: Arias by Bach, Handel & Mozart

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The solo boy soprano album has a kind of intensity, born of knowing that the sound will soon end, that attracts some and puts others off, but Norwegian treble Aksel Rykkvin, with flawless schoolboy good looks, has become something of a sensation with this album of Baroque and Classical arias. His voice has a rather metallic quality, and you might think that forcing it into these big arias would be an unnatural thing. Yet in fact some of these pieces, including the tough arias from Handel's Alcina, were originally written for a boy soprano, and Bach's church music made use of them as well. Rykkvin handles the acrobatics quite well. The cutting, brilliant quality of his voice in the 16th notes is what has attracted listeners to this; you've never quite heard anything like it. But he also can smooth things out to good effect, as in the "Quia respexit" from Bach's Magnificat in D major, BWV 243, or in the music from Handel's Messiah, HWV 56. Only in the final Exsultate jubilate, K. 165, of Mozart, does he seem forced into something that doesn't come naturally, but even that seems appropriate for this program that will surely be a one-off thing: who knows what Rykkvin will sound like in a year? The program benefits from sensitive accompaniment from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Nigel Short. The real display album from a boy soprano is a rather rare thing, and if that appeals to you, don't hesitate to grab this example.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51
1 04:13
Mein gläubiges Herze, BWV 68
2 03:43
Joshua, HWV 64
3 03:00
Alcina, HWV 34
4 03:10
5 03:01
Rinaldo, HWV 7
6 04:14
St. John Passion, BWV 245
7 03:24
8 03:16
9 02:17
Messiah, HWV 56
10 02:12
11 02:57
Samson, HWV 57
12 05:10
Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243
13 02:44
Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft, BWV 205
14 04:11
Joshua, HWV 64
15 02:44
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492
16 02:45
17 02:39
Exsultate jubilate, K. 165
18 02:26
blue highlight denotes track pick